Harmony In My Head: Harmony

By Kieron Gillen on November 18th, 2009 at 5:33 pm.

STAY AWAY FROM THAT TRAP DOOR!

Picked up from the relentless, irresistible, magnificent Juggernaut of indie-gaming coverage TIGsource, Harmony is a clear labour of love. It’s a stand-alone game based on the ZDoom code which is – apparently – 8 years in the making. Crikey. My favourite feature is that the enemies are all based on actual creatures moulded from clay. More of that sort of thing, game designers. I want a retro-Trap Door shooter, pronto. BERK! FEED ME! FEED ME BULLETS! Anyway, you can get it from here and the video follows…

Actually, this gets me thinking. As in, what old game engine would I most like to use as the basis for a new game. As in, really old. As in, at least as old as this. For me? Well… maybe Laser Squad, actually. A stripped down turn-based strategy game about shootage. It’s a strong basis. Alternatively, maybe Denton Design’s old engines they used for their Great Escape/Where Time Stood Still. Anyone care to share theirs?

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27 Comments »

  1. Jim Rossignol says:

    I have a tiny model Berk on my desk.

  2. blah says:

    “Don’t you open that trap-door!”

    Classic.

  3. subedii says:

    Actually some of the original Doom sprites were made from clay models as well. The models were mounted on a turntable facing a fixed camera. The turntable was rotated to fixed angles, and snaps were taken of the models, which then became the Doom sprites.

    http://doom.wikia.com/wiki/Models

    There’s a video floating around somewhere showing the process, but I can’t seem to find it.

  4. Bret says:

    Hmm, X-Com is as about old as Doom, yeah?

    I mean, couldn’t be much worse than Terror From the Deep vis a vis originality and difficulty.

  5. torchedEARTH says:

    I’m on level 3, and I’m loving it!

  6. Vitamin Powered says:

    I would love to see more done with the engine used for NOLF2 and Tron 2.0 (Lithtech 2?). However, I strongly suspect that a lot of what gave those games their great feel and visual coherence was artistic style and strong design guidelines.

  7. hydra9 says:

    I think I have a good call on the engine question: (Assuming it could be tweaked to be 100% happy with modern hardware) – The Outcast engine.

    As for Harmony – Thanks for the heads up! Looks like a fun old time to me, and I absolutely loved last year’s DOOM MOD, Urban Brawl.

  8. [dandan] says:

    Buzzcocks! Good taste.

  9. jay says:

    BERK! FEED ME!

    Oh man, that’s a nostalgia trip.

  10. jay says:

    BERK! FEED ME!

    Oh man, nostalgia trip.

  11. [dandan] says:

    Also love Trap Door. Are there DVDs?

  12. Bremze says:

    Lithtech Jupiter. Tron 2.0 used a custom version of it though.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithtech#Lithtech_Jupiter

    • Bremze says:

      Reply fail, that was a reply to Vitamin Powered

    • Vitamin Powered says:

      Oh, thanks! My mental arithmetic failed to remember that the first engine was used for SHOGO. Yes, I did indeed mean Lithtech Jupiter.

  13. hydra9 says:

    Currently on the second level of Harmony, and it’s darn good. It’s also pretty tough on ‘medium’ difficulty, though. But a game powered by such an antique engine still has the ability to make me jump.

  14. LionsPhil says:

    Woo, Trap Door! Play’s got the whole lot on DVD for a fiver.

    I want to see the original Prey engine let out into the world. Proper portals. (Because it’s bloody hard to get right.)

  15. hydra9 says:

    Continuing my thoughts on Harmony: I restarted, this time on ‘easy.’ I’m now part-way through level 3 and… it’s brilliant. Really tough (still) but brilliant. Level 1 is alright, but levels 2 and 3 are something special. It feels less like a DOOM mod and more like a great, lost shooter from ’96.

  16. mandaya says:

    LASER SQUAD! I loved that game. I also, obviously, loved X-Com, but for sheer style, Laser Squad’s monochrome, blueprint-like graphics couldn’t be surpassed. Ah, The Assassins … a kingdom for that game as a browser game remake.

  17. diebroken says:

    The Dark Engine.

  18. Hazelnut says:

    “Woo, Trap Door! Play’s got the whole lot on DVD for a fiver.”

    Nice one, buying immediately. God I used to run home from school to catch Trap Door! Sure my kids are gonna love it too.

  19. Supraliminal says:

    I’ve played DooM (2)a lot, and thought it’s a kick assassin game, it gets a bit tedious sometimes.
    Even the greatest mods around, like Zen Dynamics, the ultimate Torture and Torment, NeoDoom and action Doom, have that little overwhelming feeling that you’re just playing a DooM Mod.

    Somehow Harmony feels different..
    Fresh, I’d say.

    There isn’t a single bit of Doom left: not in the weapons, not in the enemies,.. nowhere nothing to bring up the wrenching feeling again.
    Ahh.., the peace of mind.

    One nice thing about Harmony, that says a lot about the game, is that, while in Doom you get a mocking message when quiting, in Harmony there stands “Thanks for playing”.